• Chiara Costa-Virtanen

A positive mentality: the step to full inclusion

I have seen a lot of interesting expat network groups drowning into the tears fallen during pity parties. People participating to events just for venting, bashing and whining, ruining the constructive initial atmosphere. No one has a natural desire to lose, but some people just love winging about Finland, attracting on themselves extreme levels of negativity.

I don’t know if the comfort in complaining helps going through the long dark Finnish winter, but it is very easy to find reasons and excuses why other individuals make it and we do not. Our thoughts create our own reality, so negative thoughts only attract negative results.

The truth is that if we really want to move towards a better situation for the international community in Finland, we have to put ourselves into a CONSTRUCTIVE RESET MODE. Forget all the previous talks, and make your own conclusions. After that, make your possible solutions. LET`S BREAK THE HABIT!

If we believe we will be successful, we will be. If we think social exclusion is our future, it probably will be.

The key is to adopt an action mentality— a mentality that will also automatically surround ourselves with other “resetting foreigners”.

A real improvement for the international community can come only with putting in effort, productivity, action and inspiring each other around. No one is inspired by someone saying “useless to try, I will never make it, this country sucks.”

Of course, there are many issues to discuss. The first step is to acknowledge the issues that need to be addressed. Without having a clear idea of what is the problem and what is the source of it, it is hard to know the path to take. It is totally ok to be outraged by some of these issues.

But, instead of passively waiting for things to change, let`s begin with changing our own mentalities. And then, let`s take action.

  • No journalist wants to get in touch with you and your business? Take the first move and write them, they often happily accept fresher ideas.

  • You feel you are not invited to talk to any event? Book a room in a local library, community center, or school to host your own event.

  • You don’t feel that diversity is represented in your workplace? Talk to your manager to see if you can brainstorm solutions together. Your HR department can run a diversity or can hire an outside consulting firm to run the session.

  • You say Finns exclude you from their social life? They don’t owe you an invitation, just ask them to meet! You might be surprised of the enthusiasm you might receive.

These are just small examples of what I mean with resetting your mind from complainer to an action planner.

Promoting diversity, equality, and inclusion in Finland can be a big task since that the immigration phenomenon is relatively recent, but we can together find ways to make a difference!

Reach out to local leaders that could be interested, use social media for spreading inclusion, as worker ask around if someone could host a workshop at your workplace over inclusive hiring practices for more diverse and equitable spaces. By doing activities opened to everyone, you can help create a better atmosphere and interaction with the natives.

Helping out NGOs that advocate for the international community is always a great way to reset your brain with action. Their creativity and activities can inspire you much more than just hearing complaints.

And lastly, let`s concentrate on what it is good in this country.

As Lao Tzu said, “There is no way to happiness, happiness is the way.”